The Seven Prisms of My Blood

after Yvan Goll

In the absent oils of your eyes two brown ores
resting leisurely on the view of your children.

You uncoil casually. My hand slipping
to the west and what was felled fills me

until I fall forward injuring your already dead arm.
I am so sorry. Our wills in a twist. Electric.

Some pulse between the gurney and the distant coffin.
My camera shutter clicking wildly around my neck.

Back home tus rab hlau searches for your hands.
The soil to harden. Rapture on the way. Onions

sprouting passionately as neglected gardens do.
The seven prisms of my blood bursting through my ears.

Your living children still living. Your garden goddess
drying the last goods in her shrine. With spring-like

precision the sun weeps until I boil. My head cracked
in four places. The ribbed earth catching fatal drops

of your blood or mine. You beseech me but in my time
I’ve slept away the sun. The underside of distance.

But I behold you now in this cool church and for a ransom.
I photograph you again and again. Your form crystalizing.

Your parted mouth a new annex to the ancestral house.
Your bones at the table. O how fair the jaundiced skies.

You get up to close that clear brittle door.

More by Khaty Xiong

In Mother’s Garden

Quietly now a mouse in the garden
that has come to mourn with me
or bite at every insect twisting
in this heat as you lie close & uncaring
in the army of the common housefly.
Let it be known that in death
you harrowed in love & in so doing
traded your ears for blackened ones,
your crown the shade of a new moon.
Let this spell be known as the fortune
of a missing tortoise, brutal limbs
& wounds of multiples. Then, to soften
alongside the watermelon rinds
on this blighted day, your body
presently absent including the mouse
I have startled into darkness. Who will
help me love the castor bean tree now?
Which of these plants will speak for you?

Ignore me while I weave between rows,
swatting at the light I have chased into
the corner of your makeshift shed still full
of your fortune, the abundant secret
of mouse droppings. Meanwhile, stay
dressed—help me be decent. Come away
from dreams, far from streets—quick,
arise in one piece! There is shade.
Even the sun could not spoil you.
 

Related Poems

Water Grave

We cross under
the midnight shield
and learn that bullets

can curse the air.
A symposium
of endangered stars

evicts itself to
the water. Another
convoy leaves the kiln.

The crowded dead
turn into the earth’s
unfolded bed sheet.

We drift near banks,
creatures of the Mekong,
heads bobbing like

ghosts without bodies,
toward the farthest shore.
With every treading

soak, the wading leg,
we beg ourselves to live,
to float the mortared

cartilage and burial
tissue in this river yard
of amputated hearts.

Mapping Home

by HAUNTIE
Body
 
A meeting place between the many times that came before it
These times, the trajectories that brought me to be here now
 
Body
 
A passing form
like a flower
the slowest moment of rupture in a single time
 
in time—body as memory
through time—body as home
with time—body as matter
 
i am body, yet i do not claim body
i never meant to sever with ink
 
What is the act of mark making, if not to define?
And what is definition, if not without exclusion?
What is exclusion, if not the cutting of matter?
 
The abstraction of cartography occurs
when the difference of parts is blurred
and lines are no longer visible
and place is not but visceral.
 

Song of the Cluster Bomblet

I am a seed
Of the tree of knowledge.

I arrived here
In mother’s steel womb—

A snug, dark pod—
With my hundred siblings.

On impact, her womb opened
And we scattered hundreds of yards.

I am a blue ridged-winged ball,
Created to appeal

To any child’s senses
Of beauty and curiosity.

When a child finds me,
Buried among roots of berries

Or wild flowers,
And cradles me

In her warm hands,
My heart melts.